We spoke with Bernadette Castel-Hollingsworth, Deputy Director of the UN Refugee Agency’s Division of International Protection to further discuss the topic Legitimacy, Diversity and Women in frontline negotiations.
We continue our conversations on the Legitimacy, Diversity and Women in Frontline Negotiations Project continued with Joyce Kanyangwa Luma, WFP Director of Human Resources.
Historically dominated by Western men, the humanitarian world has become much more diverse in the past decades. To better support field practitioners, the Centre of Competence on Humanitarian Negotiation (CCHN) is committed to exploring this diversification and its impact on frontline negotiations.
Humanitarian professionals are dedicated to assisting vulnerable people in high-risk environments. To do this, they often engage in high-stakes negotiations, during which they face personal, ethical and professional dilemmas. Living and working under such stressful conditions can take a toll on their physical and mental well-being, and many negotiators have expressed the need for self-care tools and peer support.
The Centre of Competence on Humanitarian Negotiation (CCHN) started its workstream on forced migration in Europe in September 2020. We have made it a top priority to help humanitarians working with refugees and migrants in Greece to develop their negotiation skills. In September 2020, we held our first peer workshop in Europe – and the first during the COVID 19 pandemic – in Athens.
Humanitarian diplomacy and humanitarian negotiation are inherently intertwined and interdependent, and form part of the same concept. What does it actually mean?
At the 2020 Geneva Peace Week (GPW), the Centre of Competence on Humanitarian Negotiation (CCHN) organized a joint live event in collaboration with the Permanent Missions of France and Germany to the United Nations in Geneva to discuss collective efforts on how humanitarian organizations can ensure access to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. The CCHN invited distinguished speakers and experts to exchange their views with members of the CCHN Community of Practice and to discuss the multifaceted challenges of responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.
High-level diplomacy of humanitarian organizations often appears to be detached from the reality of negotiation in the field. This disconnect has been accentuated during the COVID-19 pandemic, a time when integration between field and headquarters is more crucial than ever before. How can humanitarian diplomacy at headquarters remain aligned with negotiation experience and practice in the field?
Until recently, Libya was a middle-income country that did not need humanitarian aid. However, with a crumbling health system, minimal social services, and poor water and sanitation near coastal areas, it now faces a pandemic. This situation means that humanitarians have become essential actors responding to COVID-19 in Libya, but they are facing enormous challenges when providing assistance.
Humanitarians operating on the front lines of today’s armed conflicts need to employ a skill set that combines both wit and tactics in order to overcome the strength and territorial supremacy of their armed group counterparts. In this article, we explore the challenges that humanitarians face when negotiating with non-state armed groups, the strategies available to them, and how these link to the practice of humanitarian diplomacy.